It’s time that we all stop pretending that Michigan Republicans care about students, the idea of smaller government, or that they believe that local control trumps state or federal government control. They SAY that these are bedrock beliefs of the Republican Party. These concepts are clearly spelled out in their platform. But we have all the evidence that we need to know that these are lies and that Michigan Republicans don’t give a damn about students and their education or about the keeping local governments in control of their destinies whenever possible.
Yesterday, we got examples of what are easily seen as Exhibits A and B in this argument.
EXHIBIT A – BANNING LOCAL REGULATIONS PROHIBITING THE USE OF PLASTIC GROCERY BAGS
Local governments across the country are banning plastic grocery bags. There are myriad reasons for this. It’s a waste of precious petroleum feedstocks. It’s not a renewable resource. They pollute the environment. The list of reasons is long. It’s not a ridiculous exercise to ban them and there are quite reasonable alternatives, alternatives that have been in use for centuries.
Yesterday, Michigan Senate Republicans passed a bill that would ban local governments from banning plastic grocery bags. It’s a big, sloppy wet kiss to corporate interests who funnel campaign contributions into the pockets of these legislators and a thumb in the eye to Washtenaw County which is considering such a ban.
If they are willing to micromanage local governance to this level – recall that they also banned local governments from passing stricter employment laws that the state laws – we might just as well dispense with the idea of local government completely. Given their track record with Emergency Management, once wonders if that’s not actually the end game here.
EXHIBIT B – HOUSE PLAN TO SAVE DETROIT SCHOOLS WOULD RUN OUT OF MONEY BEFORE SCHOOL OPENS IN THE FALL
This past week Michigan House Republicans pulled an all-nighter in order to pass a package of bills to “save Detroit schools”. Rather than following the lead of the Senate, they modified that imperfect-but-not-so-bad Senate bill and turned it into legislation that is contemptuous of students, parents, and teachers. Not only that, according to the State Treasurer, it will cause Detroit schools to be out of money before the next school session starts in the fall.
Detroit Public Schools will run out of cash in August under a package of bills passed by the House of Representatives last week, according to a memo from state Treasurer Nick Khouri.
“Without further legislation, the district will run out of cash in July. The package of bills passed by the Senate provides enough new money to transition,” Khouri’s memo stated. “The House-passed package leads to a projected cash flow deficit of $22 (million) in August, rising to $80 (million) in September.”
The memo comes as the Senate begins to contemplate the bills passed by the House last week after a marathon 15-hour session, which ended at 4:30 a.m. last Thursday.
Let’s all stop buying into the idea that Republicans in Michigan give a damn about kids – especially brown Detroit kids – or local government control. To continue to do that is to admit we’re nothing more than victims of Stockholm Syndrome.